Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest vacations travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest vacations entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your vacation.
Halal vacations travel guide
Getting your head around a halal vacation isn't quite as tricky as you might think. Basically, it's a tailor made trip to a country or region that has a mainly Muslim population – Sri Lanka, Morocco or Yao Noi island in Thailand, for example. Travelers have access to halal dining, prayer facilities and, in some locally owned hotels, gender segregated swimming pools and spas. There won't be a big party scene or casinos next to halal-friendly accommodation, and the ambience is family-focused.
Non-Muslims are welcome to go on a halal vacation, especially if they're interested in becoming immersed in a country's cultural customs where the teachings of Islam are simply part of everyday life.
Aside from practising the teachings of Islam – so praying five times a day, dressing modestly and not drinking alcohol – these trips also encourage travelers to discover aspects of the local culture. For instance, you can find out more about Tamil, Malay and Dutch heritage with a local guide in Sri Lanka or go on a tour of Morocco, Jordan and Turkey to compare and contrast cultural customs across the continents. A halal vacation allows Muslims to be themselves, and non-Muslims to understand Islam from the inside.
What does a halal vacation entail?
A halal vacation focuses on families and allows Muslims to practise their faith without feeling like they're asking for the earth. Muslim travelers will also get to experience local cultures and find out more about people practising other religions, but without compromising their own faith requirements.
Trips are tailor made, so you can choose your own adventure and feature as many or as few cultural excursions and outdoor activities as you wish. A balance between beach or pool days and visits to national parks or local landmarks often works well for families.
English-speaking guides ensure that travelers can discover local sites and hear about a region's cultural heritage in the company of someone who may have lived in the area their whole life. Locations visited will mainly have majority Muslim communities and the chance to pray at a local mosque or find out more about local lifestyles. This allows for an authentic cultural exchange rather than the slightly voyeuristic alternative.
Where will I stay?Accommodation is very family-friendly and conscious of all considerations regarding the Muslim faith. For instance, there will be lots of privacy in guest bedrooms and locally run hotels will be picked for their peaceful and quiet environment without guests having to worry about noisy nightclubs or casinos right next door. Accessible praying facilities, halal food at meal times and, in some hotels, swimming pool and spa areas that are gender segregated will also feature.
What will I eat?The dietary guidelines for halal prepared meat will be followed at all times. This doesn't mean that you have to eat halal meat – pescatarians, vegans and vegetarians are more than welcome – it just means that the halal food will not come into contact with non-halal food during preparation and serving. Alcohol is not served at any halal-friendly hotels, as it’s deemed haram (forbidden). Although many Muslims around the world may turn a blind eye where alcohol is concerned, it’s worth mentioning that halal vacations aren’t going to encourage its consumption.
Are there times set aside for prayer?As per the teachings of the Quran, Muslims are required to pray five times a day. Making the most of a local mosque is encouraged on a halal vacation, although locating the Qibla (direction to Mecca) and placing your prayer mat on the ground is possible anywhere from a Thai island beach to a tropical forest in Sri Lanka.
The five Islamic prayers:
Fajr – performed at dawn, before sunrise
Zuhr – performed midday, after the sun passes its highest
Asr – performed in the late part of the afternoon
Maghrib – performed just after sunset
Isha – performed between sunset and midnight
Are halal vacations only for people of Muslim faith?Non-Muslims can also come on this type of tour and experience Islamic culture alongside practising Muslims. This is a great way to become immersed in a majority Muslim region and find out what's important to local people without feeling like you're only looking in from the outside.
If you'd like to chat about Halal or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Best time to go on a halal vacation
There's no special time of year for Muslims to go traveling, although Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, can be an incredibly authentic opportunity to celebrate with local people.
As our halal vacations are tailor made, you can head off on your travels at any time of year you wish. Just bear in mind the monsoon months if you're traveling to Thailand and Sri Lanka. May to August can get a tad soggy, although afternoon showers often disperse no sooner than they've started, leaving a cooler, fresher feel to accompany Asr (afternoon prayers). Eid al-Fitr is one of the best times to take a halal vacation in Jordan and Morocco, as everyone is celebrating the end of Ramadan. You get to join in at a genuinely joyous time of year for Muslims. Ramadan is, of course, a lean time for traveling due to the spiritual focus; however, non-Muslims will find plenty of availability at halal-friendly accommodation.
Halal vacations, month by month
Read more about the best time to go to Thailand, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and Sri Lanka.